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June 11, 2008


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Memo to movie studios: action movies can be art too. It doesn't matter if the movie fits a formula, it just needs to be GOOD.

Owain Wilson

I totally agree with Dan, above. The studios are all producing mass-audience pictures which are soft, medium quality, and unmemorable because they seem to think that's what every single ticket buyer wants. We don't.

So many people wander out of auditoriums mumbling, "that was alright". But the studios register the ticket sale rather than the opinion of the ticket buyer, so they conclude that they've got the formula right.

I'm sure they'd be pleasantly surprised with the reaction if they just let these writers and directors make the best films they can, with the harder edges and bolder ideas left intact.


I was listening to one of the 16 or 17 commentary tracks on the special edition DVD for "Seven" last night. I think the film is overrated, but it's certainly bold, and I liked the story David Fincher told about talking the head of New Line into keeping the ending, featuring Paltrow's fate as we know it, as it was in the first draft. That's the draft everybody wanted to do, except the head of New Line (whose name escapes me), who said something to the effect that there was no way "Seven" would be made with the head-in-the-box ending. Fincher told him "Fifty years from now, people will be at cocktail parties talking about the movie they saw on the Late Show a week ago night. They can't remember the title, but it ended with a woman's head in the box. And the other guy will say, 'Oh, the head-in-the-box movie!' You can't take the head in the box out of the head-in-the-box movie!" And the president smiled, and said "Okay."

Zack Handlen

I think the problem is (and huge apologies if I'm repeating something you said elsewhere, Glenn) largely the so-called negative reaction to Lee's Hulk. Which is a terrific movie, I think, but got turned pretty quick into one of the "arty nonsense" write-offs that people toss around when they're trying to dismiss something they can't be bothered to see. (Not to say that there aren't people I respect who hated the Lee film, just that there's a frustrating amount of criticism directed at it seems pissed that it had any ambitions at all; as if trying to do something expansive as well as keep the old Hulk Smash stuff was some sort of hubris-reeking bit of autuerism.)

Anyway, I'd bet Incredible was workshopped within an inch of its life, so to speak, and I think it can be looked on (at least to some extent) as a slight anomaly. Mainstream films will always have a lion's share of the stupid, but the new Hulk movie's supply is more a specific case than general example.

That said, if The Dark Knight sucks, heads will roll.



Oh, don't even get me started. I firmly believe that a decade from now, "Hulk" will be considered a misunderstood classic.

As for "The Dark Knight"...well, hopefully they got a better script, I saw "Batman Begins" again and my fanboyish enthusiasm on seeing it in theaters was overwhelmed by the script, which was kind of lame.

Zack Handlen

Batman Begins suffers from a really terrible third act. (The climax manages to repeatedly take focus away from the hero as well as over-explain itself to near drinking-game levels.) But I love Nolan and the cast, and there was enough I liked about BB to have hopes for the sequel.


I love Ang Lee's "Hulk". I'm so glad to find others who feel the same. The vitriol that continues to be spewed at it really ticks me off.

And I also unabashedly love "Batman Begins", so screw you guys!


And then the Marvel honchos decommissioned Jon Favreau from directing the Iron Man sequel. Because he ... didn't make them enough money? The mind boggles.



Sadly, it is a pissing match about money. Favreau wants a perfectly reasonable tiny chunk of the gross and Marvel is hemming and hawing about it, as if the guy DIDN'T just launch their damn studio.


Favreau's off the sequel? I hadn't heard that, but disappointing news. I imagine they'll hand the Iron Man franchise to Brett Ratner, then, right?

Bill, between your love of the Ang Lee Hulk and your defense (on other blogs) of Superman Returns, you are like the patron saint of misunderstood superhero movies. And I agree with you on both movies.


Ah, "Superman Returns", there's a movie the fanboys just loved whining about. Loved it, myself.

Ernesto Diezmartinez

I loved Ang Lee's Hulk too! I knew I'm not alone. Finally. In fact, I praised the film when I reviewed it few years ago -I write in a couple of mexican newspapers- and a lot of people thougth I was nuts. Ok, maybe I am.


Oh, hey, Cinephile! Yeah, I'm a real crusader in that regard. I'm going to have to really force myself to find something to like about "Ghost Rider", because otherwise that well's going to run dry pretty quick.

Ernesto Diezmartinez

Ghost Rider? I quit!!!


Yeah, "Ghost Rider". Uh, hey, Nicolas Cage's teeth sure were white in that movie, weren't they? Does that count as "something good"?

Mike De Luca

Whatever Nick Nolte became at the end of "Hulk" was pretty damn fascinating. And what really got me was how many critics and self-proclaimed fans bashed "Superman Returns" for not only its lack of violence, but also for an including an absurd Lex Luthor get-rich scheme. The latter is particularly odd, considering the sam movie-goers had previously embraced a plot in the original to blow of the coastlines to create beach front property. What a fickle lot.


Personally, I think "Ghost Rider" as an action movie is indefensible, because there isn't any ACTION in it. GR punches a demon once, douses them in hellfire, and that's the end of the big action setpiece.

The best part for me is Nic Cage's performance: I think he deserves credit for making Johnny Blaze a flat-out weirdo as opposed to a brooding whiner. He also plays off of Eva Mendes quite well; Mark Steven Johnson seems to have a small gift for broad romantic comedy, and he should really just go with that instead of making comic book adaptations. The scene where they short-circuit the entire "hiding the secret identity from the love interest" routine, and do it reasonably credibly, did score a lot of points with me.

Owain Wilson

I didn't like Superman Returns because it was really boring.


Isn't it already fashionable now to like ANG LEE's HULK? If I had a nickel every time an INCREDIBLE HULK review starts off with something to the effect of (and I was one of the few who really liked Ang Lee's version). I'd have a few bucks anyway.

The comic-book and blockbuster crowd hated the Hulk, but most avid film-goers who enjoy a wide spectrum of cinema generally embraced the movie. It ain't a small club.

Hulk Comics

Great movie! Edward Norton Jr was superb as Bruce Banner.

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